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  • Joy Yuan

Post-Merge ETH: Centralization vs. Environmental Impact



This significant upgrade, also known as The Merge or Ethereum 2.0, has happened, but what does that mean? Ethereum 2.0 rapidly and effectively transitioned the world's most extensive smart contract network from a proof of work to a proof of stake. Do you want to learn more about how The Merge affects Ethereum? Please continue reading to learn about the upgrades and why they are essential.

What is the Ethereum Merge


The Ethereum blockchain transitioned from the legacy proof-of-work (PoW) protocol to Ethereum's proof-of-stake (PoS), combining the Beacon Chain and Ethereum Mainnet. The Ethereum 2.0 merge officially shifted to a PoS paradigm in mid-September 2022. The upgrade resulted in a 99.95 percent decrease in Ethereum's energy use.


What is Proof of Work?


You've probably heard of cryptocurrency miners who verify blockchain transactions for rewards, like Bitcoin proof of work. Crypto miners utilize specialized computing equipment requiring high amounts of energy to solve mathematical equations. Several popular cryptocurrencies that use proof-of-work mechanisms, most notably Bitcoin, have come under fire for rapidly rising energy usage.


How does Ethereum staking work?


Ethereum staking entails locking up ETH on the blockchain — or "staking" it, as it were — to earn the opportunity to verify transactions and earn ETH as a reward, as opposed to using powerful computers to solve complex mathematical problems in exchange for compensation.


A validator must securely attest and place bets on the consensus process to produce blocks. A validator is assigned a job every 6 minutes; if completed, the validator receives a reward.


The process of "sharding" involves breaking the Ethereum network into multiple pieces. The contents of each shard would have its own set of account balances and smart contracts.

Post-Merge ETH has become obsolete?


Platforms that provide liquid staking derivations are increasing the appeal of staked ETH since it is more capital efficient and profitable than ordinary ETH.


Lido-staked Ethereum (stETH) and other liquid staking derivatives may soon replace ether as an asset. By owning stETH or any other ETH liquid-capitalizing by-product, conventional decentralized finance (DeFi) users may benefit from pricing that was previously reserved solely for insiders following the switch from proof of work (PoW) to proof of sharing (PoS). Staked ETH has increased the interest from individuals to institutions across centralized finance (CeFi) and decentralized finance (DeFi). Titans of the assiduity, such as Coinbase and Frax, have produced ETH liquid capitalization derivations.


Liquid staking derivations extend the benefits of normal ETH, which also function as a secondary asset that generates profits. In other words, holders can capitalize on benefits while gaining exposure to ETH's fee action and maintaining liquidity.

Advantages of Merge-ETH


Ethereum makes it possible for more people to join the network

Many Ethereum network users will benefit from the Merge since more of them will be able to benefit from incentives for contributing to and protecting the network. Miners will no longer verify transactions on the blockchain as proof of stake (PoS) replaces proof of work.


The Merge makes sharding possible

The Merge is significant because it will provide the groundwork for Ethereum to expand its capacity someday, making it faster, more efficient, and less expensive. Sharding is the next technological advancement for blockchain.


Improved environmental impact

The Merge, the proof-of-stake method, would result in a staggering 99.95% decrease in energy use. The Ethereum network will no longer require powerful, costly computers, reducing the demand for specialized gear and electricity waste.

Disadvantages of Merge-ETH


The community has expressed some disagreement with the proposed Ethereum merger. The following are a few drawbacks of the Merge:

  • The quantity of work and capital required of miners would also grow due to the Merge. As a result, users' fees increased, and Ethereum became less decentralized.

  • Decreased network usage and participation because all proof-of-work miners are no longer required, with no more mining incentives.


Conclusion


The Merge will enable a flourishing phase for Ethereum on the back of several innovations, decentralized applications, and new use cases, despite any immediate drawbacks that may arise. Liquid staking opens new opportunities for generating yield from synthetic assets. Decreasing the environmental impact by more than 99% is a catchy headline, but making $4 billion worth of Ethereum hardware obsolete makes the blockchain less decentralized, and fewer people contribute without mining incentives. Overall, the Ethereum 2.0 Merge was successful without any significant issues, paving the way for future growth.


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